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PAPALSCOPE

More Thoughts for Community Plan. A Personal View from John Pope. Suitable reading for those not easily bored. 01747 870326. Tisbury Needs Affordable Housing. Perfectly true but one can't single out Tisbury. We are in no way unique. Every desirable area is short of 'affordable housing'. New residents coming from London or the Home Counties tend to push up prices. I can't afford to buy any sort of a house in the village where I was born, nor can my youngest daughter afford to buy in this village where she was raised. There is no God given right or justified expectation for any to live in a particular place. The world moves on for everyone. Maybe Government could be more helpful? There used to be a lot of Social Housing. In earlier days termed 'Council Housing'. Much of it built to very high standards. In the sixties 'System Built' houses came along. Places like Rownan Point in London, or some of the less desirable property in Salisbury. Down the line 'Super Mac's' 'Three hundred thousand new houses a year' had deteriorated in standards of construction. Clearly much of this latter stopgap housing should have been demolished, rather than have been sold off. Had that happened new housing might have been built on many now irreplaceable valuable sites. Unfortunately in about 1978 one of the Political Parties campaigned under the slogan of 'The Right to Buy ' A policy that for instance the majority of New Forest District Councillors initiated immediately; whilst others opposed the idea saying that such a scheme would be a disaster. The correctness of that latter point of view is now apparent. It is very important to correlate cause and effect at every level of Government. Fragmented Council Estates can no longer be entirely redeveloped with modern housing. The Right to Buy Policy re-seeded much ground with the potentiality of becoming akin to a Dickensian slum In 1979 that 'Right to Buy' became Law. Sometime before then was the scheme for 'Leasehold Enfranchisement' of Privately owned property. That too took away the opportunity for many to get onto the housing ladder. The present Government plans to extend the 'Right to Buy' to Housing Association Tenants. One can but wonder over, what others might suspect to be electoral gerrymandery. A major cost consideration when building houses is not only the initial cost of buying the land, but too the cost of fighting both the Planning Authority and the 'Nimby.' Everyone of us might incline to weep over the fate of our green and pleasant land, even whilst hunting with the hounds to the 'Tally-Ho' cry of 'Affordable Housing.' Unfortunately the latter may be an unattainable 'Mirage.' We all need and are entitled to accommodation. Apparently as single parenthood and marriage break-ups are on the increase, more and more of it is needed. Too many have answered that other Siren call of 'Go West Old Man' which further contributes to our housing demand exceeding supply. When Tisbury fought to maintain the Railway, part of the cost of success was that even more people wanted to come and live in the Village. Not merely have the house prices gone up and up, but congestion has increased. We have our double lines and Green Ambassadors. Any thought of Parking, or even an un- congested High Street is hopeless. There are times at the Railway Station when it is impossible to even stop a car to collect passengers without impeding the progress of others. Our road system is diabolical. There is a viaduct in Tisbury carrying the railway line, an obstacle that has caused problems to the owners of Station Works Tisbury. Those who have lived here longer than I, tell me that in the recent enough past the Railway had brought in materials to rebuild the Viaduct. But then there was talk of the line being closed, so work ceased. One supposes that had the line closed the existing Viaduct would have been blown up. Great fun to watch, I saw Blandford Bridge being felled. Improved access to the Town Centre no end! Modern thought on this obstacle, makes mention of a rebuilt pedestrian bridge over the railway line, and that flight of fancy, a second pedestrian bridge over the River Nadder adjoined to Poole Bridge. Such remedies would still leave the Village with the same problem of Access. What a nonsense, what a waste of time and money. It was of course to be Private money from a proposed Development Company. Obviously enough this outlay of cash was one they would reimburse plus interest from the purchasers of the properties someone eventually builds. Not too bad really, it would only cost the purchaser of a house a modest 26,000 extra. (Cost of 1.500,000 shared between sixty units = 26,000). Of course the rest of us would have to boost our own house valuations to 'maintain differentials' as the jargon has it. It would be a great mistake to believe that a Developer is waiting shovel in hand the moment any planning permission is granted. Someone might make a start as necessary to maintain the permission, but do no more for a very long time. If one agrees that a Brownfield Site has become a Building site, an Investment of say 800,000 becomes a Security worth three or more million pounds, less interest payments. Those of course can be added to the eventual sale price of the house, on top of the cost of those bridges. Again the rest of us would need to maintain parity! Everyone is well rehearsed concerning Access to the village of Tisbury along Hindon Lane. Those who live there may vouch for its unsuitability for any further traffic even if following the signs to 'Tisbury North'. I live only too close to the local burial ground, and the euphemistically termed Water Treatment Works, and of course close to Chicksgrove Quarry. It is via our road that your Ambulance comes when needed. It is not a safe road, cars turn over, and motorcyclists die on it. When the RAF was thereby, they seemingly took to importing 'Space Shuttles' from America. Impossibly long and heavy loads whatever each was, quite unsuited to a ridiculously narrow single-track road. When Robert Key MP. Was approached on the matter, the Minister wrote to him, that he regretted such traffic couldn't come in by the railway line as suggested, because the freight charges would be too expensive. Local agitation can be effective because the site was soon after closed down. Jobs were lost and with them 'Tied Accommodation' along the Avenue in Tisbury. Some of that was sold off too. Maybe Tisbury is unsuited to any sort of Industrial Traffic? Possibly some might take exception to the largest sort of trailer units heaving six or seven boulders down Hindon Lane through Cuffs Lane, to Chicksgrove Quarry. If one does, maybe such matters are best considered before consenting to Planning Applications. When application was made by the Quarry to install stone sawing equipment, the local Council's unanimous response was on the lines of 'Good, local jobs just what we need!' (SO1 2062) We had lost employment at the Sawmill, Maidments yard, RAF Chilmark, The Tan Yard, Court Street Farm, The Hindon Lane Site, two separate Garages etc. Then came news that our very own Messrs Parmiter wished to move nearer to the A303. Seemingly the ideal use for their existing site was for the construction of all those houses referred to above. Apparently we suddenly had but limited need for employment. Did anyone ask dislocated small business how hard it is to find suitable accommodation, before local Councillors reached their contrary decision over Station Works? The thought of building Houses on our last site of employment smacks of selling our village's birthright for that proverbial mess of pottage!

contact : JOHN B. POPE
Tel : 01747 870326